List of Top 10 Summer Sports With Most Injuries Provides Warning for Olympics Enthusiasts

September 01, 2000

New York (MedscapeWire) Sept 1 — Basketball, bicycling, baseball, and soccer are the center of sports fans' attention during the summer and will be again when the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games begin. But these sports also get a lot of attention in hospital emergency rooms and doctors' offices, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) reports.

Basketball leads the AAOS's list of 10 popular summer recreational activities with the most injuries. Last year in the United States, 1.6 million injuries related to basketball were medically treated, according to US Consumer Product Safety Commission data.

Bike riding had 1.4 million injuries and baseball had 492,832 injuries in 1999. Other sports on the list are soccer with 477,647 injuries; softball, 406,381 injuries; and trampolines, 246,875 injuries.

Next is inline skating with 233,806 injuries, and horseback riding, 196,260 injuries. Rounding out the top 10 list are weightlifting with 189,942 injuries, and volleyball with 187,391 injuries.

Some of the 5.5 million injuries are sprains and strains, cuts and bruises, fractures and dislocations; others require long-term medical care. Among the "top 10" sports, the total cost is $84.7 billion in medical, legal, and other expenses.

The AAOS said that people shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security by more leisurely sports. Hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, and hospital emergency rooms treated 131,975 golf-related injuries and 78,102 tennis-related injuries in 1999.

The Summer Olympics will inspire millions of children worldwide to take up sports in their backyard or at the park, said the AAOS. These activities help develop youths' muscles and coordination, but they also can result in injury. Young athletes are more susceptible to injury because children's bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments are still growing.

The AAOS has launched the "Prevent Injuries America!" campaign to help prevent sports injuries. Many injuries can be prevented by not overextending oneself, not playing when in pain, and taking time out to rest. Participants should be in good physical condition, stay alert, know the rules of the game, and wear the proper protective equipment.

Using statistics from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, the AAOS created the top 10 summer recreational activities, ranked by the number of injuries:

Sports Injuries Cost
Basketball 1,633,905 $19.7 billion
Bicycles 1,498,252 $28.6 billion
Baseball 492,832 $6.6 billion
Soccer 477,647 $6.7 billion
Softball 406,381 $5.1 billion
Trampolines 246,875 $4.1 billion
Inline Skating 233,806 $4.2 billion
Horseback riding 196,260 $4.9 billion
Weightlifting 189,942 $2.7 billion
Volleyball 187,391 $2.1 billion

Next in line among summer recreational activities are swimming with 149,482 injuries and wrestling with 136,055. Roller skating had 115,763 injuries and gymnastics had 86,479.

Internet users can download the Prevent Injuries America! information from the Academy's web site: